Guest wants to look at house before booking!

How many of you get requests from people wanting to see the house prior to booking? (Another one is guests trying to talk to you away from Airbnb to avoid the fees). I think I know what you are going to say - say no and block?! But I also would like Airbnb to know because the last time (years ago) they actually gave the guest permission to view prior by giving them my address (agreed with me - I was fairly new to the game then). Of course the guest was wanting to strike a deal with me once here in person.

I wish people would be detected more quickly when doing this. It isn’t fair on the hosts who are loyal to Airbnb. Things she is putting in her message are being blocked, so wouldn’t it be good if an Airbnb rep would be alerted to these red flags, and follow to see what is going on. So I would like Airbnb to improve on detecting these messages. So I am thinking to let them know so that they can keep an eye on this person?

You will find many different perspectives on this here. Some hosts follow Airbnb policies more closely than others and live in fear of losing Superhost status, being kicked off, getting unscreened guests or not having the damage protection of Airbnb. At the other extreme you have hosts who see Airbnb strictly as a one of a few booking platforms and only comply just enough to stay active on the site. I am probably somewhere in the middle. I would only report guests to Airbnb who are threatening or harassing me or who have stayed and showed great disregard for my property. Airbnb sometimes picks up language on the part of guests or hosts through messages that indicates people trying to do business off platform. Let them handle that. The only people whom I let see my property first are local friends and family of potential guests when it is convenient. They usually hear about me outside of the Airbnb system.


Admirable thoughts, but Air isn’t going to improve on detecting the messages – not profit in it for them. And they re not going to “keep an eye” on any paying guests because they favor guests over hosts anytime anything comes up.

DO NOT let prospective guests come to your listing. You don’t want “cross-town” guests, among other reasons – they always seem to be trouble.

Whether you deal “off system” with guests, I don’t personally care. Air isn’t “loyal” to us, why should we reciprocate? I don’t think of Air as anything more than my advertising platform and money disburser; I don’t expect them to do any more.


I agree with Christine that people have different perspectives on this but I’m a hard NO. I live alone. I don’t want random people that haven’t been vetted inside my home. My pictures show a clear picture of the suite.

Also, if someone was injured while on my property or if my property was damage, Airbnb would not take any responsibility.

Guests can see over 400 reviews of my property. I’m a superhost. I don’t see any reason to put myself at risk.


This is a hard no and, yes, I would decline or ask Air to cancel the reservation if already booked. Anyone who’s going to be a good, “normal,” experienced Airbnb guest knows not to ask because that’s now how Air works. Huge red flag!


I say to guests that all the information they need to make a decision about my listing is on the listing and if they have any additional questions to let me know.

Most people wanting to view are time wasters or looking to go outside of Airbnb

@SuiteInSeattle for you it’s a security risk and a waste of your time


I’m not particularly worried about security, but it makes me cranky when someone has such particular needs that they have to ask me a million questions or come see for themselves.

My experience is that guests with high needs at the outset are not worth chasing. I will answer a few questions, and after that, I just refer them to my reviews. I’m not giving them a tour, that’s for sure!


My experience too. I don’t do luggage or car drop off either because folks take advantage of that too.

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Letting someone preview the place who hasn’t committed to a booking and paid is no different from inviting in any stranger who appeared on your doorstep, and giving them a house tour.

The only time I think it would be a reasonable request would be if a host accepts longterm bookings. I can understand not wanting to commit to a 3 month booking without seeing a place and the neighborhood. But I’d do a lot more than just say yes, only agreeing after extensive communication with someone, getting references, etc, and perhaps setting up a meeting at a cafe first. Seems like a lot of time to spend unless you really were desperate for the booking.

But I wouldn’t report someone just for asking.


I don’t give tours because it’s not a good use of time. It’s so common to rent a place without touring now, not even my tenants get tours. I certainly wouldn’t do it for a STR. It’s rare to be asked and I really don’t want that type of guest anyway.

However, I don’t think there’s anything to report to Airbnb. I find it too much trouble to give tours but there’s nothing aberrant about asking for one. I know that Airbnb has a policy against it but I know a lot of stuff about Airbnb policies that most guests don’t know. Besides, there is no policy against a guest asking. The policy is against the host accommodating it.


One of our neighbors (in St Lucia) bought their property without seeing it in person. Purchase price of over $500,000 US. They weren’t stupid - there was a clause about penalties for serious misrepresentation, but that’s like the protection AirBnB (and VRBO) provide for rentals.

This would be my rental. My off-season rentals are usually 30-90 days. I want them to be happy. If they are in town visiting, I’m happy to let them see the condo if it is empty. If occupied then I give them my gate code so they can see the neighborhood.

If they initiate the booking on Airbnb, they need to follow through. I don’t know them. They don’t know me. Next year if want to direct book, we will. Lease agreement for all LTRs

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Because I live right on the spot (and work from home) then I’ve no objection to letting potential guests come around prior to booking as long as a) there are no guests in the apartments of course and b) that they make a proper appointment with me so I know what time they are coming.

Because there are usually guests in place I tell them that and that they are free to come into the grounds to see the view / the building or whatever it is that they want to check out.

Unless I’m busy, I’ll meet them and talk to them.

Stragely, I’ve never had one single Airbnb guest try to persuade me to rent to them away from the platform. Even more weirdly, I have repeat guests who book via Airbnb and I’ve yet to understand why. :slight_smile:

I get less now than I did several years ago, my answer is a hard “No”, the only exception I make is if it is a neighbor or someone I already know. Primarily I just don’t want the hassle of scheduling and meeting with someone. My units are often rented, and can rent last minute which could be problematic trying to show it to someone. I just offer to answer any questions they may have and make sure I have up to date, accurate photos of the unit listed.

They aren’t paying guests if they are trying to drop Air out of the equation though, are they? Well not to Air anyway! Thought they might like to monitor they can improve their software so people stop trying it on and just crack on with booking the old fashioned way.

I didn’t mean being loyal for any altruistic reason, but just loyal to the Air rules in this case, just because it works better for me to keep it on the platform.

The old-fashioned way does not include Airbnb.


I’ve had folks stop by as I was doing a walk thru or finishing up some project and ask if they can have a look for their friends or relatives who either have already booked for the future or are looking to book. (We live in a somewhat friendly community where having strangers stop by to chat isn’t weird.) I’m proud of my properties and happy to show them around. I’ve gotten a few bookings out of it, and made at least one worried future renter much more relaxed.


I understand what you’re saying. We probably have a different setup. There are 4 separate units, including our own, in our house and we try to maintain privacy and quiet. I can’t have strangers coming in and poking around and possibly disturbing someone. The people who are already living here or the guests already staying have to take priority.

We don’t have any vacancy in our long-term apartments. The most we get between folks is one day to flip. And I don’t want a tenant to have to show their apartment. They’re only here for 3-6 months and working pretty intensely, most often they’re nurses working nightshifts. I want to give them their peace while they’re here.

And when it’s to time re-rent one of the units, there are a lot of applications and it’s very rare that someone asks for a tour. On occasion, there’s one that asks but there are 15 others who don’t ask so it doesn’t make sense to disrupt the community for that one person.

For our STR unit, the stays are only 5-6 days on average, so it’s not worth it to tour those people either. I suspect that anyone who needs to see the place for such a short commitment is not our ideal guest. And it would take a certain amount of my time which is just not budgeted into the STR model.

I’m from a place like that, so I understand; however, I currently live in New England. Strangers don’t stop by, they only give you a side eye from across the street :rofl:


We list under our property that if you want to tour before you book then it will be an $85 fee, reimbursable if you book the place.

The reason why we do that is that 95% of all people that do this do not end up booking. So by keeping a policy in place, they know that we don’t mess around. And most people looking to mess around aka waste your time, will not actually be willing to waste their $$ doing so.


This was exactly us, before we became Hosts. We needed to find a place for about a 2-month stay, and I just couldn’t imagine committing to a place for that length of time without seeing it, and the neighborhood first. The host I asked was super cool about it, and let us see it. Granted, I was a newbie at the time, and I didn’t know what it felt like to be a host. So, I’ll just say that if people request to see it, it can definitely be a legitimate, honest request. If it’s just for a short stay though, it doesn’t really make sense.